Recently, I've been discovering a lot of great new bands. While I have reviewed many awesome new acts this year (Orion, Satellite Tragedy, Sputnik Monroe, Waterbodies, etc.) there are tons more I haven't gotten around to yet...
That said, here is a special feature on new bands that I'm going to call "Get Familiar." Look for a new "Get Familiar" update every month or so. These bands are a very diverse selection of talent from all over the map. I'm going to create a poll so that you, the reader, can vote on which act you think is the best. Voting will be open til sometime shortly after the new year. Let your voice be heard.
The bands are...
Oh Captain My Captain
Location: Portland, OR
For fans of: The Beatles, Radiohead, Pavement, etc.
Why Should You Care: "Recklessly She Split the Sea captures a band with a knack for sonic theatrics. Bettis' vocal melody lines are unexpected and comforting while the slight psychedelic choppiness of the instrumentation adds a layer of drama and anxiousness to the songs on the band’s ambitious debut. OH CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN maintains a solid ground in classic rock with all the proper updates and relevance causing Portland area critics like the Willamette Week to take notice and write: “Evoking three different branches of the pop family tree- the Beatles, Queen and Radiohead- OH CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN offers distinct vocals and a gripping live show."
Location: Montreal/Halifax, Canada
For fans of: Wintersleep, Dredg, My Bloody Valentine, etc.
Why Should You Care: "CONTRIVED is a 5 piece rock band with principal members from Juno Award (Canadian Grammy) winners Wintersleep and Juno/Polaris nominees Holy Fuck. Their latest project has led them into a sound direction incorporating their hard rock roots and expanding on their pop sensibilities. Lending a hand at the mix is Dave Newfeld (Broken Social Scene, Super Furry Animals)."
Location: Mansfield/Brisbane, Australia
For fans of: Nirvana, The Stooges, Mudhoney, The Pixies, etc.
Why Should You Care: The resurgence of true grunge can be found with these Australian fellas. "Violent Soho began a few years ago as a means of playing music together for four boys, then in their teens, who wanted to be able to embrace an 80’s and 90’s punk–grunge impact to their music without disregarding the ethic that ideally follows from such influence. The band has since then gone on its way to creating an energetic live show. From its beginnings, playing shows at outer-suburban pubs and rehearsing and recording demos in their parents' garages; the band has grown not by striving to achieve musical extravagance or stability, but by being a real band, by keeping its own principle and belief and sense of mateship within itself."
Sean Wheeler & Zander Schloss
Location: Palm Springs, CA
For fans of: Grateful Dead, Sublime, Bon Iver, etc.
Why Should You Care: Sean Wheeler (Sun Trash, Throw Rag)and Zander Schloss (Circle Jerks), two truly inspirational punk rock legends, are now a dynamic performing duo playing jammy, Americana, roots rock. Just two men singing and playing guitar, banjos, and so on...making music for the people. Simple yet incredible, their myspace pages say it all with this, "Been there, done that, doin this..."
The Boom Boom Box
Location: Dallas, TX
For fans of: Autolux, Joy Division, Baboon, etc.
Why Should You Care: "It's difficult to consider this album from The Boom Boom Box as the five-piece's debut—although, well, it is just that. Still, this self-titled, self-released, Stuart Sikes-produced disc doesn't really sound like a band still trying to figure out what it's doing, and the members of the band—Ean Parsons (Pinkston), Tony Hormillosa (Pleasant Grove), Clay Stinnett (Ghostcar), and Andrew Huffstetler and Mike Rudnicki (Baboon)—aren't exactly new to the music thing. So, it's no surprise then that, over the course of this five-track EP, The Boom Boom Box quickly shows that it's on to something potentially great here. Andrew Huffstetler's familiar vocals, much like with his Baboon fronting, serve to intermingle with the music without overtaking it. As a result, fans of Baboon will certainly be quick converts to The Boom Boom Box's sound. But make no mistake: This isn't Baboon. It's a heavier, fuller, more psyched-out rock act; think Secret Machines, only with more of a pulse."
Cage the Elephant
Location: Bowling Green, KY
For fans of: The White Stripes, Led Zeppelin, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, etc.
Why Should You Care: "Their debut album combines herculean riffs and grooves big enough to fill a canyon with juggernaut rock and roll anthems to devastating effect. Led by brothers Matt and Brad Shultz, Cage are a mercurial mix of Southern charm wrapped around a tightly coiled spring of chaotic energy. Growing up at a time when the only option America offers young men of their social background is the chance to fight a war no-one understands or get a dead end job, Cage the Elephant are the mouth piece for disillusioned, working class America in 2008"
Location: Los Angeles, CA
For fans of: Queens of the Stone Age, PJ Harvey, Veruca Salt, etc.
Why Should You Care: Have you ever wondered what Queens of the Stone Age would sound like if they were fronted by a beautiful, sexy, female singer? Well, Sweethead are your answer. Comprised of Troy Van Leeuwen (QOTSA, Failure, A Perfect Cirlce, Enemy) and the lovely Serrina Sims, with Norm Block and Eddie Nappi (Enemy, Handsome), create a blend of rock and roll that is both groove oriented and badass!
Here Holy Spain
For fans of: Toadies, Bad Religion, Rival Schools, etc.
Why Should You Care: Coming from out the same Texas scene that gave the world Toadies, Baboon, Lions, and many other quality grunge rock bands, Here Holy Spain should continue the legacy. Their guitars are loud, their melodies are sharp and memorable, and they remain heavy, honest, and accessible.